Thursday 15th September 2016
A new dawn over Cobham, a new page on Bob’s Blog, a new Bob without pain and a computer that responds instantly to commands. What more can an old fart want? Win the lottery 3 times in a row? Done that, got the tee shirt (3 free lucky dips in a row). Fourth time lucky? Some hopes. Many moons ago I learnt that a picture is worth a thousand words so you might be in for a few more ‘pictures of the day’ if I don’t run out of bits that is!
Sunday 18th September 2016
Smartened ourselves up yesterday and took a train and a bus to Southwark Registry Office for a family wedding. This stretched Limo seen on the Peckham Road is not the wedding car but probably Del Boy gone upmarket with Trotters Independent Traders! The longest one surely, how the hell do you do a 3 point turn in a thing like that? What goes on inside can only be guessed at, not a lot of dancing that’s for sure. We jumped on a number 436 back to Vauxhall Station – dancing upstairs only! Thinks – maybe I should use the Buss Pass a bit more?
Thursday 22nd September 2016 (First day of Autumn)
And what a lovely day, the sun shone, so, strapped on the hiking boots and walking poles (both of us) and took Henry our borrowed Labrador for an extended hike around Reigate Heath (dodging the golf balls) and into Reigate Park (not been there before), joined the throngs of coffee drinkers with their kids, babies and dogs and ended up at one of my favourite pubs for a beer battered cod and chips and if you saw a picture of it it would make your mouth water, not only that I was allowed a whole pint of Cornish Ale! The Skimmington Castle on Reigate Heath is worth a visit if you are in the area, for me it holds fond memories of around 52 and a half years ago when I used to rock up with my 1952 soft top Morris Minor and enjoy the atmosphere with old buddies many of whom are no longer with us. The Skimmington Castle has changed little in 50 years, the only difference is that now the beer comes via pumps instead of straight from the wooden casks behind the bar, Henry wants to go there again because next time he has been promised a chip but don’t tell his owner. And yes, the old back and tickers stood the strain up and down the hills – can it get any better than this?
Friday 23rd September 2016
Now I do realise that other people’s blogs can become acutely boring, I’ve just checked on Jan (Leeming’s) blog who you’d think that it would be anything but boring but, sorry Jan, it’s become boring – stick to the aeroplanes. Anyway in order to get you thinking I invite you to have a look at my latest creation (above) for which I am seeking a title before it goes on sale. Any ideas Sam? What do you think of it? Do you think I’ve got talent? Any comments greatly appreciated.
Also this week I invested in a garden rubbish wheelie bin, just to keep up with the Jones’. I now no longer have to creep round after dark with my bags of leaves looking for space in a neighbours bin. And just in case my neighbours have the same idea mine is choc full of rotten apples every week. I think you may be able to tell that my back pain is virtually gone – can’t believe it. It could be the self-inflicted EFT treatment, it’s short for Emotional Freedom Techniques where you tap yourself on various places and say ‘Even though I have this decorating problem I deeply and completely accept myself’ – and your decorating problem goes away – bloody amazing.
Friday 29th September 2016
Just thought I'd warm you up a bit!
Saturday 1st October 2016
It's raining so not much else to do except to introduce you to a few dogs who have passed our way.
Judy on Oxshott Heath c.1952.
Kellar on the sofa c.1979.
Minnie at a street party.
Henry looking for his dinner.
And this is me with Judy in the back garden of The Withies, Steels Lane, Oxshott in 1945, I'd just recovered from being buried alive in the rubble, survived scarlet fever, a few journeys from Kings Cross to Darlington in a smelly steam train stuffed with troops which was targeted by Jerry’s bombers on more than one occasion also recently experienced my first few weeks at school up in Darlington.
Don't you feel just a touch sorry for the poor little urchin?
NOUGHTS AND CROSSES
Monday10th October 2016
Don’t feel too sorry for him as he’s about to celebrate 50 years of marriage to the same person so there might be a few stories emerging over the coming week or so. All he is prepared to share with us at the moment is this picture of the happy couple on the steps of Epsom Registry Office back in October 1966. The honeymoon was a drive to a B and B in Littlehampton in his Riley 1.5, they stayed for the whole weekend, so there is a bit of making up to be done. Well he was on a £1 an hour up at CDI – watch this space.
Bob and Marcia about to set out on a 50 year journey - at least.
Bob's 1959 Riley 1.5 waiting for the bride outside No. 27 Blundel Lane.
And this is the same urchin in his knitted bathing costume - now you must really feel sorry for him.
Sunday 16th October 2016
Call him an old romantic if you like but he produced THIS for his bride to commemorate 50 years of marriage, he wouldn’t advise buying a copy as it’s too damn expensive but hopefully you can get a brief idea of Bob and Marcia’s story. The retaking of vows ceremony was special as was the taking of pictures and the ‘wedding breakfast’. There might be a report on the long awaited honeymoon at some point. Incidentally did you see the Hunters Super Moon last night – another amazing coincidence?
In the meantime there just might be some news on the Easyreader and Handy Sander projects (remember) in the coming weeks so lots to look forward to – all this just might be a dream.
Saturday 22nd October 2016
‘Your call is very important to us, please hold for the next available agent’ twenty minutes later – ditto – 20 minutes later – ditto. This was Europcar help centre, Bob’s attempts at two other numbers for Europcar Newquay were permanently engaged and permanently unanswered.
The attempts to contact Europcar were made by Bob in the middle of a noisy and chaotic South Terminal at Gatwick as the 14.10 flight to Newquay had been cancelled. Bob was keen to inform Europcar of the delay.
Bob and Marcia had waited patiently to check in their heavy bags, fought their way through security including removing hiking boots and settled down in a noisy coffee shop for ‘information’ the ‘information’ for flight BE804 was a 10 minute delay ‘More info at 14.10’ – no problem they thought. 14.10 came and went and then ‘Please go to the Airline Desk’ came up – now what thought Bob as he finished his coffee. Sixty people all descended on the Airline Desk all with their own individual anxiety’s and concerns. ‘What’s going on?’ ‘ Terribly sorry the aircraft has had a fault and the flight has been cancelled’ ‘There is a flight at 20.10 but seats are limited so it’s a first come first served situation – this is the number to call’. Immediately all those in earshot dialled the number including Bob who surprisingly got through and secured 2 seats on the 20.10.
‘What was that?’ shouted somebody from the back, back came the reply that ‘the 14.10 flight has now been reinstated for 18.40 and all those booked on the 20.10 will be transferred back to the 18.40 but first we must get you all out of security and collect your hold bags which are being returned to baggage reclaim. And by the way all those of you who have purchased duty free goods have to return them’. Disbelief was the look from those carrying smart carrier bags.
A yellow lady appeared and said follow me but didn’t seem concerned that only Bob and Marcia followed, the other 58 disappeared. The yellow lady also disappeared in the baggage reclaim area leaving no information as to where the bags might re-appear, carousel number 5 suddenly burst into life and surprisingly disgorged the lost bags. At this point Bob had a strong desire to retrieve the car from the Long Stay car park and get the hell out of the Gatwick environs and drive to Newquay instead.
Marcia being a little less impatient persuaded him to recycle the bags back to the check in and wait for the 18.40, OK thought Bob but much against his instincts. Back at the check in surprisingly most fellow passengers reappeared in a large blob causing chaos around adjacent check-in desks ‘Please form a queue within the tapes’ came the cry but totally unheeded much to the annoyance of all those checking in to Bahrain.
A second battle through security, including ‘remove hiking boots’ didn’t exactly help the blood pressure but thoughts of the Treglos Hotel on Constantine Bay were now coming into the forefront of Bob and Marcia’s minds. Despite many irate, annoyed and resigned passengers round about Bob was somewhat impressed that Flybe had managed to produce another aircraft from somewhere to get us all to Newquay, nevertheless thoughts of large amounts of compensation entered Bob’s head despite the plastic cards worth £12.40 issued to all delayed passengers for ‘a meal!’ at any of the Gatwick eating establishments. On arriving at the final check in before boarding all systems seemed to be down as check in was only achieved by interminable button pressing as obviously the system wasn’t programmed for all those booked on three flights to the same place on the same day.
Take off finally occurred at 19.33, precisely 5 hours and 23 minutes late, good enough for substantial compensation thought Bob. Stone the crows a mere 37 minutes later the Embraer 195 landed at Newquay and surprise, surprise Europcar failed to deliver the car. Why? Because they closed the office at 18.30 of course and to hell with all those who experienced problems and couldn’t get in touch. ‘Your call is very important to us???
Bob collected the car the next day, didn’t make a fuss and tried to forget the previous day. That evening Bob and Marcia finally relaxed with a glass of bubbly in front of the roaring log fires at the Treglos Hotel contemplating what happened during the 50 year delay in their Honeymoon.
The flight delay incidentally meant that the pair missed their first dinner but in true Treglos fashion the kitchen came up with two boards of cold platter heaving with a variety of fish, meats and salad all delivered to their room by an efficient young man , Bob tipped generously with his last £1.37. However eating after 9.30 is never a good idea.
Dressed for breakfast the pair ambled down to the bright and spacious restaurant and were confronted with a dizzying array of cereals, fruit, croissants, jams, juices and all shades of milk. A full English plus any combination you can think of is also available. Conversations with fellow guests are usually on the banal side but Marcia did her best to respond to a ‘really’ elderly couple (probably younger than Bob or Marcia) who lost no time in telling their life story, which, among other things was looking after the historic Marconi wireless station on the Lizard, Bob being a touch interested mentioned that he had done his apprenticeship with the Plessey company on experimental under water communications. Bob and Marcia heard no more from their neighbours!
After breakfast Bob’s taxi arrived on time at 10.30am to take him and his Tom Tom back to the airport to collect the car. A young lady at the Europcar desk always on the defensive completed the formalities handed Bob the key to a Hyundai i20 which had an over sensitive clutch, oversensitive brakes but went like a rocket. Bob without Marcia on the road is something to be avoided.
A stunning day weather wise was spent ambling around the local area including the magnificent Constantine Bay. There are of course probably hundreds of magnificent beaches and vistas in Cornwall but Constantine Bay in gin clear conditions with an off shore wind whipping the tops off the towering breakers takes some beating.
Marcia chatting to an incredibly talented local artist Mark Gibbons on the beach at Constantine Bay, the sign says:-
ARTIST AT WORK CONVERSATIONS ARE FREE.
You can check out his work HERE. He told Bob he started work in an engineering drawing office but got bored after a few days!
Bob's thinking of taking up painting - again.
One of the main reasons for visiting Cornwall was to re-visit Marcia’s Great Aunts cottages in a hamlet called Trembroath near Stithians. Marcia along with her father, mother, Brian her brother and dog used to travel to Cornwall in an Austin Seven back in the 50’s – the journey often took 12 hours or more often with many stops to fix things that had broken and find things that had fallen off. Not to mention refuelling from the on-board cans of petrol.
The old aunts Mary and Lilly kept the cottages spotless despite no running water or electricity, water was collected from a hand pump from a well adjacent to the cottages – it’s still there.
Trembroath Cottages Still pumping 70 years later!
Marcia's Great Aunt Lilly Sophia Lathbury (nee Bandey) born on the 27th June 1871 was quite a lady. She travelled widely in the Middle East particularly in Egypt as a nurse, stamps in her passport, which is in Bob and Marcia's family history file, show that she carried on working and traveling well into her 60's.
The 36 mile journey to Stithians doesn’t sound much but on Cornish roads great skill and concentration was required (which Bob has in abundance) to guide the Hyundai through all the gaps between the stone walls and tractors.
Before leaving Stithians Bob and Marcia paid a visit to Stithians Church where Bob left a generous donation because secretly he had arranged with the Reverend Dominic Jones to perform the retaking of vows ceremony without telling Marcia but had to cancel as he couldn't keep a secret and felt a touch embarrassed. Apologies to the Reverend Dominic if he happens to be reading this.
Reprogramming the Tom Tom for Trelissick House, the next way point on the itinerary, again was carried out with great dexterity. Trelissick House despite its magnificent position was a bit of a disappointment. Guided by the soothing voice of Tom Tom the pair returned to the hotel and once more enjoyed a sumptuous dinner together this time with a spot of Pinot Grigio. Sam, the black Labrador said goodnight to Bob and Marcia on the stairs on his way out for his evenings stroll. (It wasn’t too much Pinot Grigio!).
The final day’s jaunt was decided after a brief disagreement, which you are allowed after being together for 50 years, it was to be a visit to St Enodoc Church the other side of Padstow. St Enodoc Church if you don’t know it is a quirky church with a crooked spire and was for many years buried under the dunes but brought back to life by the vicar who was lowered down into the church initially through a hole in the roof. St Enodoc Church is also the burial place for John Betjeman. It also happens to be right in the middle of a golf course where if you are not careful you will get a high speed golf ball whizzing past your ear - FOUR or perhaps FORE and if you so much as whisper while the golfers are taking aim you will be admonished in no uncertain terms. Bob and Marcia chatted loudly as they both are getting a touch deaf.
Another drive back to the hotel relying reluctantly but absobloominlutely on Tom Tom the honeymooners wallowed in time and luxurious surroundings, so luxurious that Bob decided to nip out to the local pub and down a quick double Jamesons while giving the excuse that he had to top up with petrol. Complete decadence.
A final brilliant sunrise, breakfast and goodbyes to Sam the Black Labrador and fellow honeymooners Bob and Marcia sadly had to return the car and join the coffee queue back at Newquay Airport. Newquay Airport reminded Bob of his flying club at Fairoaks back in the 60’s but he wasn’t allowed to fly 60 passengers back to Gatwick even though he is perfectly capable!
Bliss was experienced when walking out of Gatwick without going through Passport Control. Try it some time.
St Enodoc Church View from the Captains seat over The Needles
but you can't see The Needles.
Thursday 27th October 2016
For those of you who are keen Bob’s Blog readers you will have noticed that he has slipped into the ‘third person’ that means that he no longer writes about himself but he now thinks he is somebody else writing for him. Now this has advantages and disadvantages, it means that on the one hand it gives him a much freer rein but on the other hand there is an ever present danger of fact slipping into fiction. Which will never do.
This next story is in fact fact but difficult to believe. During the recent re-taking of vows ceremony in the cosy side chapel in Cobham Church, which incidentally was very moving for all concerned, there was a lone figure sitting at the back of the church minding his own business and reading his book. He was a discreet volunteer church ‘watcher’.
Following the short service Marcia chatted to the friendly vicar, they both knew each other from many past encounters, Marcia for some unknown reason asked the vicar if a couple of ladies she knew in the past who had been in the choir and wanted to know if they were still choir members . The reason that she asked about these particular sisters was because she knew, from previous encounters, that their father was Marcia’s first boyfriend when she was 15 when they both lived miles away near Wembley. Why she chose this particular moment to enquire about her first boyfriend we will never know. The vicar replied animatedly ‘Oh yes’ he said ‘they are still choir members and their father at this moment happens to be sitting at the back of the church, he is one of our church ‘watchers’.
Incredulity was written over the faces of all. Bob’s children even took pictures of the boyfriend not only that Bob and the boyfriend even shook hands and thoughts of a lucky escape didn’t enter into any of the participants minds.
Bob has no intention of banging on about his old girlfriends but following his encounter with Mark Gibbons the Cornish Artist mentioned above Bob has decided to channel his energies and take up painting again. If you did click on the link to Mark’s website above you will find encouraging notes, tips and lessons for budding water colour artists. Bob has bought a few tubes of water colour paint and brushes and will be seeking inspiration - but that just might be fiction!
Friday 28th October 2016
His attempts so far at creating stunning artwork have been pretty pathetic, there are a few on page 5, if you remember. This one is an imagined scene from back in 2000 entitled ‘This is Where I Live’ but he can’t remember much about doing it or whether or not it was done in ink or pencil. It must have been an 05 Pentel pencil with a 2H lead as he would have had plenty of those at the time as his drawing board days were just coming to a close – bloody CAD and staring at screens all day was something he was trying to avoid. Anyhow he still feels that this is where he wants to live, he’s not sure where it is – could be anywhere,
One important thing about it you will notice is there are no cars, no roads and no aircraft so how he would get to Waitrose in the snow is a matter for speculation. He is no fan of the TV programme ‘Escape to the Country’ but watches it anyway! He would like to apologise for the crap depiction of animals as his ‘life’ skills have yet to be developed.
Sunday 30th October 2016
No need to wind your clocks back if you can remember that digital is summer and analogue is winter – simple. By the way Bob is still waiting for an answer to the question posed on September 6th, . What causes the second tide of the day? If he doesn’t hear anything then either nobody knows or nobody is reading this blog Sam. He will assume the latter.
Wednesday 2nd November 2016
Now old Bob is not one for desecrating the countryside but when he’s out on a hike in the sunshine with Marcia and Henry and he finds an old Biro in the field, which incidentally could easily be swallowed by any passing animal, he decides to do the right thing and pocket the Biro. But before consigning it to the bin he checks to see if it works – and it does. So, in true teenage fashion he decides to make his mark for posterity on the nearest arris rail (fence). Now your task for today, dear reader, is to find the graffiti and report back with the correct location, all he can tell you is that it’s not far from a bench with a view to die for. Your prize will be a Handy Sander which, if you so desire you may wish to sandpaper Bob’s graffiti into oblivion.
Continued on PAGE 12